BKW announces second and third COVID cases

The Enterprise — Noah Zweifel

The facade of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo District building was renovated while the school was closed this spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

HILLTOWNS — Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District Superintendent Timothy Mundell announced this week that two more people have tested positive for COVID-19: a student in the secondary school who had been attending classes in-person, and a district employee.

These are the first reported cases at the school district involving someone who has spent time in the school while potentially infected, with both the student and employee having last been at the school on Nov. 24. A student who attended classes remotely was announced to have COVID-19 on Nov. 15. 

Mundell announced the case involving the student on Dec. 1, through an email to district notification subscribers. The case involving the employee was announced on Dec. 2.

The student case was self-reported, Mundell wrote, and as of Dec. 1 the district had yet to confirm the case with the Albany County Department of Health.

“Although this is a ‘self-reported’ case and we are awaiting full verification from the Albany County Health Department,” Mundell wrote in the Dec. 1 release, “we believe it is important out of an abundance of caution to make our community aware of the situation.”

In both cases, Mundell wrote, the district is working with the county’s health department to determine who the infected individuals came into contact with at the school; all relevant parties will be notified and instructed on their next steps.

The district is still holding in-person instruction as of Dec. 2. Students who are notified of contact will “temporarily switch to online learning until the quarantine has ended and it is safe to return to campus for in-person instruction,” Mundell wrote in the latest release.

Albany County is experiencing another surge of COVID-19 cases, with the total number far exceeding the peak experienced in April and May. The current 7-day average for daily positive cases is 166, compared to 74 on April 24, the highest of the spring/summer period.  ​

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